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Our People

Seth A. Stambaugh, M.Ed. 


Owner and Administrator

     Seth A. Stambaugh grew up in Placitas, New Mexico with his parents, Linda and Jeff, his older sister, Melanie, and his twin brother, Sean.  He always possessed a deep ability to concentrate, which aided him in his creative and educational endeavors.  During his childhood, Seth attended both Montessori and traditional elementary schools before matriculating at Albuquerque Academy in 1998 for middle and high school.  During his time there, he discovered that his passion for education had a deeper root than in simply learning; it extended to helping others learn as well.  

     In seventh grade, Seth began volunteering as a teacher’s assistant at local elementary schools.  In high school, he tutored students who were inmates at the Camino Nuevo Youth Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  During his senior year, he chose to complete his “Senior Project” by becoming an intern teacher’s assistant at Cottonwood Montessori in Corrales, New Mexico.

     After graduating from the Academy with a cumulative 4.24 GPA in 2005, Seth decided to move to Portland, Oregon, to continue his educational pursuits at Lewis and Clark College.  He studied English and Sociology before pursuing a graduate degree in education at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.  He received his Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.) with a 4.0 GPA and returned to New Mexico.  Continuing his education, he enrolled in Montessori Elementary Teacher training at The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado, receiving his Montessori Teaching Certification from the American Montessori Society.  He gained experience working in both public and private schools as a state certified teacher while also tutoring students one-on-one in his spare time.  

     After ten years working as a school teacher, Seth decided to create Piñon Tutoring.  He believes one-on-one tutoring is the most effective way for students to gain knowledge, hone critical thinking skills, identify core values, and develop integrity.  He embraces the idea that learning is not just about developing competence in subject areas, but also about developing confidence, life skills, and identity.

     In his free time, Seth enjoys working on home projects, cooking, writing, and spending time with his dog and two cats.  

Nyssa Arcos, M.S. Ed., Media Design and Technology


Contract Tutor, K-6th All Subjects Bilingual Expert, Spanish Expert

     Nyssa is a passionate educator with over 20 years of experience providing experiential learning opportunities to underserved youth and girls in STEAM education. She began her career teaching bilingual elementary students in a rural town east of Austin, TX, and later moved into administration and STEAM education consulting. 

     Beyond the classroom, Nyssa is also a pioneer in deploying innovative EdTech solutions in schools across the globe. Some highlights of her work in EdTech include implementing one of the first K12 computer science curricula in the country, coaching teachers to deploy innovative classroom tech, and working with school leaders to create more innovative learning spaces. 

     In addition to education, Nyssa enjoys dabbling in the fine arts. She is an accomplished violinist, vocalist, and dancer. She started playing the violin at age 4 and continues to "fiddle" around with music when the spirit moves her. Nyssa had the pleasure of teaching elementary violin classes and adult barre fitness for a time as well. 

David Broaddus, M.Ed.


Contract Tutor, 6th-College Math Expert

     Dave is a passionate educator and mathematician from Seattle, Washington.  He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics, receiving the highest award at Wheaton College for excellence in mathematics.  His time as an undergraduate marked a transformative period in his life, during which he developed a deep passion for both learning and sharing ideas with others.
     Following this passion, Dave joined the Peace Corps to become a high school mathematics teacher in Namibia - a position he enjoyed for 18 months before the COVID-19 outbreak forced his evacuation.  Undeterred, he relocated to Dallas where he took on the role of a high school IB mathematics teacher while simultaneously earning a Master of Education through Johns Hopkins University.  He spent three years growing as an educator in Dallas, before moving in 2023 to Albuquerque to be closer to the mountains (which he has absolutely loved exploring in his free time).  
     Throughout his experiences teaching and tutoring students, Dave has grown into a steadfast belief that every student possesses innate mathematical talent. He believes all students are naturally curious, and that through guided discovery this curiosity leads to deep understanding.  He loves taking part in growing his students' confidence and excitement about learning.

     In his spare time, aside from hiking in the Sandia Mountains, Dave enjoys playing his guitar, developing websites, and spending time with his family.  

Lisa Brown, B.S. Mathematics


Contract Tutor, K-College Math Expert, K-12th ELA Expert

     Lisa Brown was born in Ohio and grew up in Northern California. As young parents, she and her husband moved to New Mexico where they have raised their children and spent much of their adult lives. Lisa graduated summa cum laude from University of New Mexico, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in English.

     Lisa spent twenty years successfully homeschooling her three children who have all graduated college and are now grown adults living their best lives. She taught high school geometry and algebra II in the private school setting, and she has tutored mathematics at all levels, kindergarten through calculus. Lisa views mathematics as a language to share.

     Lisa strongly believes that a child’s learning and development are fueled through confidence; in fact, she feels that learning and confidence are mutually dependent on one another. Therefore, she will make every attempt to foster a determination and fortitude in the children she works with. She will help them discover their strengths and build off of them. Lisa’s preparation, thoughtful strategies, and willingness to adapt in the moment have helped her reach students in a nurturing, rewarding way.

     In her spare time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, family, and friends. She is an avid bicyclist and often hikes with her white German Shepherd Scout.

Albert Cota, M.Ed. Secondary English Education, B.A. English

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Contract Tutor, K-8th Math Expert, 5th-12th ELA Expert

     Albert Cota grew up in Taos, New Mexico.  After graduating high school, he was fortunate to attend Stanford University where he completed his undergraduate degree in English, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing.  After university, he went on to work as a technical writer for many years in Silicon Valley and Albuquerque.  He also worked many years as a Systems Administrator for Stanford and UNM.  Finally, he set up several small businesses for computer consulting.  He decided to get another degree in Education and work more closely with people.  He joined UNM and received a second bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Secondary Education English.

     Albert taught for over 20 years, grades 6-12, but mostly high school.  He is also comfortable tutoring Elementary students.  He has worked in Albuquerque at Ernie Pyle Middle School, El Dorado High School, and La Cueva High School.  He also taught overseas in Shanghai, China, and closer to home in Mexico City.  During his time teaching, he has consistently tutored students on the side in Reading, Elementary Math, Algebra, and College Readiness.  He enjoys witnessing the rapid educational growth his tutees make.  His interests include travel, reading, and cooking.

Kelly Dunn, MAPL


Contract Tutor, 6th-College Spanish and Writing Expert

     Kelly was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland.  At an early age he discovered his passion for language and writing and would later go on to study both Spanish language and Linguistics at the undergraduate level.  It was here that he first began tutoring language and assisting with ongoing research into second language acquisition as well as language documentation at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  During this time, he also worked closely with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland as a volunteer interpreter.  Ultimately, these experiences would lead him to pursue further graduate study, focusing on the social aspects of language change and development.

     Inspired by the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Southwest, Kelly moved to Albuquerque in 2018, where he completed his Master’s Degree in Linguistics at the University of New Mexico.  While in the program, he had the opportunity to work as an instructor, teaching both beginning and advanced language levels in the department of Spanish and Portuguese.  Looking to develop further as an educator, he also took on additional work as both a writing and language tutor and online learning assistant at the Center for Academic Program Support, receiving his tutor certification from the College Reading and Learning Association.

     Having occupied a variety of roles within education, Kelly takes a holistic approach to language learning, placing equal emphasis on developing listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.  He recognizes the difficulties and challenges that learners face when exposed to a foreign language for the first time and believes that a structured approach guided by compassion and flexibility is key to success.  In many ways, he views tutoring as an ideal opportunity to meet learners at their level and help them to both develop and apply their skills beyond the instructional setting.

     In his spare time, Kelly enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, and caring for the fish he and his partner keep together.

Erik Foster, M.A. Special Education


Contract Tutor, 4th-12th All Subjects Expert, Special Education Expert

     Erik is a dedicated and compassionate educator with over 15 years of experience. He received his undergraduate degree from California State University Fresno and holds a master’s degree in education from Brandman University.

     Erik has spent the majority of his career working with middle school and high school students in special education. He has vast experience working with students who require support with attention and social-emotional learning needs. Over his career, Erik has served in a variety of roles including teacher, department chair, special education program specialist, and special education principal over social-emotional learning programs. Erik is an outside-of-the-box thinker who has a passion and desire to see all students succeed.

     In his free time, Erik enjoys spending time with his family, riding motorcycles, and being outdoors.

Rachel Hanselmann, K-8th Alternative Licensure, B.A. Spanish, B.A. Women and Gender Studies


Contract Tutor, All K-8th Subjects Expert, Spanish Expert

     Rachel Hanselmann was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her childhood was shaped by her family's deep-rooted passion for the outdoors, fostering a love for activities such as hiking, rafting, skiing, and rock climbing. These opportunities to experience life outside revealed to her that learning extends far beyond the classroom. Rachel's love for the outdoors continued to flourish throughout her middle and high school years at Albuquerque Academy, where she actively participated in the department’s electives and volunteered herself as a student leader on numerous backpacking trips. Her dedication to these experiences ultimately earned her the Experiential Education Award in her senior year.

     Upon her graduation from the Academy, Rachel embarked on a new journey at the University of New Mexico. Eager to broaden her horizons and step outside her comfort zone she familiarized herself with the Study Abroad Department. Rachel’s enthusiasm for learning, paired with her passion for travel and cultural exploration, led her to a myriad of diverse experiences. During her time at UNM Rachel studied abroad in Perú and Spain, as well as participated in a national exchange spending a year in Montana. It was during these college years that Rachel fell in love with the Spanish language and decided to make it her major. She graduated cum laude from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Women & Gender Studies. 

     Throughout her life, Rachel has sought ways to engage with the youth of her community. From working as a camp counselor to coaching soccer to teaching in the classroom Rachel has always known she wanted to be involved in education. She returned to UNM to obtain her K-8 teaching license and a year later, unable to resist, she moved to Spain to work as a Language and Culture Assistant. 

     Rachel takes a holistic approach to teaching, seeing her students as humans first. Her experiences inspire teaching practices that challenge her students to step outside their comfort zones.  Her overarching goal is to support the continuous growth and well-being of the individuals she works with and in the process further progress her own skills. 

Shayla Heavner, M.S. Education

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Contract Tutor, K-College Math Expert

     Shayla Heavner is a mathematics educator with over 15 years experience teaching students from second grade to upper-level college math. She began tutoring her peers in high school when she realized she had a knack for explaining difficult and complex topics in a fun and unique way. After earning an undergraduate degree and graduate certificate in mathematics and a graduate degree in education, Shayla worked as a professor of mathematics at Indiana University and with advanced learners at The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth where she was awarded the Sarah D. Barder fellowship for excellence in teaching. 
     Finding the traditional curriculum a bit too dry, Shayla shifted gears to become an instructional designer and curriculum expert working to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences. This led to authoring a series of fantastical books aimed at making math both fun and interesting while helping students realize how powerful numbers can be! 
     Although she stays busy as a mom of 5 amazing children and a curriculum designer, her true passion is working directly with students, helping them to feel confident, master their skills, and most of all discover the joy in learning. 

Isaac Lipkowitz, M.Ed.


Contract Tutor, K-8th All Subjects Expert, Writing Expert

     Isaac Lipkowitz grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The son of two English teachers, the importance and value of education was instilled in him from an early age.  He attended Albuquerque Academy for middle and high school, where he excelled in a variety of subjects.  During that time, he served as a teacher’s assistant for a variety of subjects, most notably serving as a teacher’s assistant and stage manager for Summer Musical Theater intensives for ages 11-18.

     He attended Kenyon college for his Bachelor of the Arts in film, where he was valedictorian and received distinction for his senior exercise in film.  He followed up the experience with a Masters in Education at Earlham College, where he specialized in Educational Media and Game Design.  As an instructor, Isaac values individual differentiated learning informed by the individual learner's needs.  He believes in focusing on developing lifelong learning skills and techniques and creating an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their thoughts, ideas, and challenges. Isaac emphasizes learning as a collaborative process.

     Isaac has a deep love for storytelling of all forms and is an avid board game enthusiast. He occasionally does stop-motion sand animation and recently had a novella he wrote adapted into a radio play by Fusion Theater company. Isaac spends his days reading and cooking for his family.

Robert (Bob) McKinley, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction


Contract Tutor, 6th-College Math Expert

     Bob McKinley grew up in South Florida with his dad, brother, and cats. With a wide range of academic interests, he earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on math as well as an M.A. in philosophy before moving to Albuquerque. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of New Mexico, where he is currently writing his dissertation.
     Bob has over eight years of experience tutoring middle and high school math and teaching critical thinking to undergraduates. Over this time, he has found joy in reaching students at all levels and making abstract concepts more intuitive. He is excited to focus on math again and help students along their educational journeys.
     Bob loves the New Mexico wilderness and enjoys hiking and camping in his free time. 

Alexander Morgan, B.S. Education


Contract Tutor, 5th-10th Math Expert

     Alexander A. Morgan was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his parents Margaret and Roy, his older sister, Maria, and younger brother, Thomas.  Alexander has had the privilege of growing up with an immigrant mother and a father who was a classic cowboy that instilled the ideas of hard work and the American dream. With a family of engineers, chemists, project managers for government programs, and teachers, Alexander was surrounded by a family willing to answer any question imaginable.  This diverse upbringing taught Alexander the value of critical thinking, hard work, and education.  He always enjoyed school through the public education system Albuquerque had to offer, but sought to provide the next generations with an education better than his own.  

     Alexander studied at the University of New Mexico.  Alexander’s life goal was to make an impact on education in New Mexico.  He thought education would be the key to shaping society to be a better place for everyone in the future. Alexander wanted to be a teacher ever since he started considering career options in high school and started lesson planning in high school. 

     Having taught 10 years in APS, Alexander has gained recognition from Governor Susana Martinez for exemplary standardized test improvements within his students.  Creating a sense of self-worth, positive classroom environment, and lifelong learners are Alexander’s missions.  Alexander is happy to share his skillset with Piñon Tutoring. 

     In his spare time, Alexander likes to read, do yard work, landscape, cook, study cryptocurrency, and be with his supporting wife.

Sheryl Peak, B.S. Education


Contract Tutor, K-8th All Subjects Expert, TESOL Expert

     Sheryl is an enthusiastic, experienced educator who believes that all students can be successful.  Her experience teaching for APS 20+ years and also in a private school for 2 years has allowed her the privilege of challenging students from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.  She loves those awesome moments when the student lights up and says, "Oh, I get it!"  Sheryl is excited to be working with students one-on-one, which is unique to private tutoring.  Her love of science expanded when she worked at Sandia National Laboratories for many years, and she loves sharing her science knowledge with students as well!

     Sheryl loves to be outdoors skiing, snowshoeing, biking, hiking, and just having new adventures.  In summers she has explored Italy, Maine, Massachusetts, and Mexico and looks forward to more travel in the future.

Iiris Rinne, M.Ed.


Contract Tutor, K-8th All Subjects Expert

     Iiris Rinne was born in Helsinki, Finland. She has had a passion for teaching and working with children from an early age. At age 7 she was already teaching a weekly arts and crafts club for her little brother and his friends. At 13, she began coaching gymnastics, and has done so ever since. Her own background as a rhythmic gymnast has taught her the meaning of hard work and determination.

     Later on, she obtained a Master's degree in elementary education, minoring in special education and physical education. She has taught 3rd and 4th grade in public schools for the past three years, and has worked as as a full time head coach of children's sports. She has worked with children of all ages her whole life in elementary schools, dance and gymnastics classes, daycares, summer camps, au pair, tutoring, as a personal assistant, among others! She likes teaching all the subjects and does her best to create meaningful, engaging, and effective learning experiences.

     As a teacher, she values positive interaction, socio-emotional growth, literacy, physical activity, and helping children become their best selves. Seeing the student as a whole and treating them with respect and kindness means everything to her. Positive pedagogy and seeing the good in every student has worked well with her students in the past. She is liked among her students and their parents alike. Teaching is her way of making the world a better place.

     Iiris moved to Albuquerque in 2021 to get married to her partner. They enjoy hiking around New Mexico with their puppy, Xerxes.

Amy Romero, MBA Educational Leadership, B.S. Mathematics


Contract Tutor, K-College Math Expert, Time Management Expert

     Amy K Romero was born in California and raised in Belen, NM with her parents, two sisters, aunt and grandparents. She has always loved to read, work on puzzles and garden. Her thrill for puzzles or mysteries led to a deep love of mathematics after being inspired by two high school math teachers.  During her last two years of secondary education her outlook on the world was changed and she endeavored to learn as much as possible about mathematics and science. Her focus led to a fully paid college education at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in biology and an emphasis in statistics.

     While in Socorro, New Mexico Amy discovered her deep love for working with children and teaching after tutoring and working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. It was a particularly successful session of tutoring in College Algebra that led her to pursue education when her tutee suggested she become a teacher. Shortly thereafter, as a recent college graduate, she began working at Belen High School as a math teacher. 

     After a break from teaching to grow her family and a stint at homeschooling, Amy went back to teaching in Albuquerque where she taught everything from 6th grade math to Calculus.  During this time frame the challenge of helping support students as they mastered challenging concepts became her focus. She went on to work as a mathematics specialist with grades K-8 and supported teachers and students while taking on other teaching or administrative roles as needed. During this time frame Amy received the competitive Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to fully fund her pursuit of an MBA in educational leadership at the University of New Mexico.

     After 16 years in education in various roles Amy still believes that the individual connection created in a learning environment is foundational to helping students learn and become the best version of themselves.

Abbi Sanchez, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction

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Contract Tutor, K-12th ELA Expert, Special Education Expert

     Abdiel (Abbi) Sanchez, M.EdCI, is a Special Education teacher with 10 years of experience working with students in grades K-12 in Reading and English Language Arts and elementary students in math. She currently teaches grades 9-12 at a local high school in Albuquerque.  She strives to make learning fun and interesting for students while helping them build self-esteem as they become independent learners. She believes EVERY child can succeed when given the tools and supports they need to be successful.  In her spare time, she loves to be around people making new memories.

Sean Thurston, B.S. Secondary Education


Contract Tutor, 5th-College Math Expert

     Sean is a dedicated and respected teacher with 25+ years of experience teaching mathematics to all levels of students.  His first position was with Whitewater Public Schools where he taught grades 7-12 in a rural setting in Montana.  He then taught at a Job Corps Center in Astoria, Oregon for a year, before accepting a position in Valdez, Alaska for 10 years where he was the math department chair.

     While teaching at Valdez High School, he also worked at Prince William Sound Community College, where he taught trigonometry, calculus, and AP classes.  After moving from Alaska, he moved to Santa Rosa and taught at Santa Rosa High School for five years.

     Since that time, Sean has tutored math with Mathnasium in California and privately.  He is now tutoring for Piñon Tutoring and looking forward to meeting new students.  Sean is married, has one daughter, and a four-legged best friend.  His hobbies include music, camping, and on-line chess.

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